Your practical help guide


Click here to download the 2016/17 Norfolk Carers' Handbook

Choose from the articles below to see more information on each topic

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What are the signs and symptoms of dementia?


Memory problems are one of the common symptoms of dementia, although it is of course common to notice a decline in memory as people get older. The problem is it can be difficult to tell whether this is actually a symptom of dementia or just ‘senior moments’.

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What treatments and medications are available?


Broadly speaking we can separate treatment into two areas - Therapies and Medication. Treatment for dementia is complex and changing area but you may find the following overview a helpful introduction.

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What are some other causes of memory problems?


Whilst problems with remembering things can be a symptom of dementia, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Sometimes a memory problem could be just another of those ‘senior moments’, because age is a factor. There are other possible causes too, and it’s worth getting advice to rule them out before assuming that the diagnosis will be one of dementia.

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Where do I get a diagnosis?


The formal diagnosis of dementia will normally be carried out by a specialist working in the memory service of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.But, the entry point for diagnosis is most likely to be your GP. It’s usually the GP who starts the journey, although it is possible that a patient may be referred from a hospital doctor if perhaps symptoms are spotted after a hospital admission.

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What is the process of a diagnosis?


Receiving a diagnosis can be a shock for some people. For others it can help them to finally have answers to symptoms that they have been experiencing. It’s important to take the time to process the news. As with any diagnosis you, your loved one and your wider family and friends may react in different ways. This is completely natural and people may need time to adjust. There is support available to help at this time, and as you go forward.

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Post diagnostic support


Broadly speaking we can separate treatment into two areas - Therapies and Medication. Treatment for dementia is complex and changing area but you may find the following overview a helpful introduction.

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Local support


We have provided some helpful links to other organisations here.

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Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST)


Your local memory clinic may offer different therapeutic techniques after a diagnosis of dementia – most commonly this is likely to be Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. You may also find different therapy groups in your local area, which may or may not be specific to helping people with dementia, although beware of anything that claims to produce miracle results.

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Dementia Friendly Places


There are the key organisations such as The Alzheimers Society and Age UK, and you’ll find them helpful. However in a dementia friendly society new support services are appearing all the time. By clicking here you’ll be able to keep up to date with the local developments and facilities.

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Support in the home


Dementia can affect people in different ways. Most people want to remain independent at home for as long as possible. In familiar surroundings with family and friends close-by. To enable you to remain living at home comfortably and safely, there are a number of aids, adaptations and levels of support available. Many of these will be paid for privately, however, if your needs are particularly high, you may be eligible for support from the local authority.

Read more  

Dementia friends


The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. Find out more about Dementia Friends, and some other people you’ll connect with here.

Read more  

Dementia Friendly Places


There are the key organisations such as The Alzheimers Society and Age UK, and you’ll find them helpful. However in a dementia friendly society new support services are appearing all the time. By clicking here you’ll be able to keep up to date with the local developments and facilities.

Read more  

Cognitivie stimulation therapy


Your local memory clinic may offer different therapeutic techniques after a diagnosis of dementia – most commonly this is likely to be Cognitive StimulationTherapy. You may also find different therapy groups in your local area, which may or may not be specific to helping people with dementia, although beware of anything that claims to produce miracle results.

Read more  

Legal matters (POA, wills, living wills, rights)


A running theme through this website is one of planning. It’s important to help you to plan your wishes, set out your life history and make a plan for legal and financial considerations before you lose the capacity to do so.

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Financial considerations


There are many financial issues you will need to address as you live with dementia. Throughout this website you’ll find help and places to visit for guidance on managing your affairs and paying for care. One key issue for your family and loved ones is that you address the need to write a will. You also need to consider the benefits to which you may be entitled.

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Day care and respite


If you’re living with dementia you will need care, on a daily basis. If someone close to you is providing much of that care they’ll need to take a break from time to time, to recharge their batteries.

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Residential care homes and nursing homes


Care homes and care homes with nursing offer 24-hour care and support to people who are no longer able to live independently. If you’re thinking about a care, or nursing, home as a possible option there is a lot to consider, and you’ll need to talk through the various solutions with everybody concerned.

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Hospital care


Hospital visits, planned or unplanned, can be unsettling. However, if you need treatment in a hospital there are important things you can do to help make the visit less stressful.

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Where to start


Right here is a good place to start. If you’re caring for someone who has dementia this website is here to help to you. It’s about providing answers, information, reassurance and access to help. Most of all it’s about letting you know that you’re not alone.

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Carer's rights


Thanks to recent changes in legislation brought about by the Care Act 2014, carers are now recognised in a way that they weren’t previously. If you haven’t already, you should make your GP aware that you are a carer. If your GP is different from the GP of the person you are caring for, it is worth making both doctors aware of your role.

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Your health and well-being


Taking on the role of caring for someone with dementia will be demanding. Knowing where to go for help, and what benefits are available, is important but so too is your own health and well being. It’s important that you stay fit and well. Respite care will be important to enable you to recharge your batteries. There are some other important issues you should consider too.

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Carer's assessment


You should have a Carer’s Assessment from your GP, which looks at your health and your needs as a carer. This is separate from the needs of the person you are caring for. It’s very much an appointment about you and helping you to maintain your health and look after yourself so that you can care effectively.

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Taking a break


Making sure that you take an occasional break from the demands of caring must be an essential part of your planning. Many people feel a sense of guilt about this, but it’s seldom justified. You’re less good at supporting and caring if you’re physically exhausted or mentally stressed. In fact your being tired and, understandably, fractious can have a negative effect on the person you’re caring for.

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Relief in an emergency


As much as we’ve talked about the importance of planning, there are some things you can’t predict. In an extreme situation the normal rules of calling the emergency services will of course apply. It’s important to be as prepared as possible - even for the unexpected.

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Practical help at home


There is a lot of practical help available to you as a carer, and for the person with dementia. It ranges from the services of care professionals who can come in to help, to practical things that can be done around the house to make life a bit easier for all of you. There’s a lot to take in, but have a look at the next sections.

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Respite care


Respite care and short breaks may be provided to the person you are caring for so that you can take a break from your caring role when you need to. You’ll have been asked about the possible need for respite care during your assessments and it’s really important that you’re as open and honest about your likely needs from the outset. Everyone needs a break, and seeking respite care for a person with dementia doesn’t mean you’re letting them down.

Read more  

Legal matters (POA, wills, living wills, rights)


A running theme through this website is one of planning. It’s important to help your loved one to make plans and set out their wishes for legal and financial considerations before they the capacity to do so.

Read more  

Financial Considerations


There are many financial issues you will need to address as you care for someone with dementia. Throughout this website you’ll find help and places to visit for guidance on managing their affairs and paying for care. One key issue for your family and loved ones is that you address the need to write a will. You also need to consider the benefits to which you may be entitled.

Read more  

Support in the home


Dementia can affect people in different ways. Most people want to remain independent at home for as long as possible. In familiar surroundings with family and friends close-by. To enable someone to remain living at home comfortably and safely, there are a number of aids, adaptations and levels of support available. Many of these will be paid for privately, however, if a person’s needs are particularly high, they may be eligible for support from the local authority.

Read more  

Dementia friends


The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. Find out more about Dementia Friends, and some other people you’ll connect with here.

Read more  

Dementia Friendly Places


There are the key organisations such as The Alzheimers Society and Age UK, and you’ll find them helpful. However in a dementia friendly society new support services are appearing all the time. By clicking here you’ll be able to keep up to date with the local developments and facilities.